Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Two Books

On Saturday, Idris the pigeon delivered Putrajaya’s 10-point formula to supposedly resolve the Bible impasse. Basically, what it means is that the Bumiputra Christian population in Sarawak and Sabah are free to bring in and use their Bibles in Malay as well as in indigenous languages; and that no restriction will be enforced. Also, the Bible can now be printed locally in any language, including in Iban, Kadazan-Dusun and Lun Bawang. But believers in peninsular Malaysia must have their Bibles stamped with the words “Christian Publication” and a cross on the cover. This is a classic divide-and-rule tactic. Will the Christians fall for it? Or will they stand united to compel the government to agree to one policy to prove their commitment to upholding the Federal Constitution’s guarantees on freedom to worship, in line with Najib’s 1Malaysia slogan to nation building?

Kuching-based Anglican bishop, Bolly Lapok said “It’s an assurance, but we have been given such assurances before”. The Bible Society of Malaysia’s (BSM) general-secretary, Rev Simon Wong, remained doubtful that the federal government would honor their pledges. Rev Thomas Phillips of the Mar Thoma Church and also an executive councilor in the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) admitted he was encouraged but he questioned the timing of the 10-point formula. “Why, after all these years?” he had asked. The answer is simple, Reverend! The Sarawak state election is just twelve days away. It is politics that drive this about-turn. Will the Christian community believe in these pledges or will they wise up to the Federal Government and demand action, not words? My advice is for Christians to be cautious rather than to be stupid! Malaysian Christians should not have to negotiate their constitutional rights! They are Malaysians like everybody else in this country!

And don’t forget – the Allah issue is still not settled!

Today, the police arrested DAP’s Teluk Intan MP M Manogaran and PKR division leader MS Arjunan for protesting against the controversial Interlok novel at the Batu Caves Hindu temple. Obviously, the Indians are still unhappy. You can be sure Muhyiddin will not permit any protests because as far as he is concerned, the matter is closed.

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